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How To Become Ambidextrous Update

become ambidextrousIt’s been a couple of months since I announced my intentions to become ambidextrous. As you know, I am a living weapon, and a living weapon with only one coordinated limb is like a jousting lance with a pillow full of marshmallows on the end. So I decided that I wanted to be more skilled with my non-dominant hand. Ambidexterity, as it turns out, is not as simple as I wanted it to be.

How to be ambidextrous?

The first order of business was just to start doing as many things with my left hand as I could. This proved to be way more challenging than I had anticipated. How are you supposed to punch out a hobo with rabies with your non-dominant arm?

I thought I would adapt quicker than I have, is what I mean. Ambidexterity is about rewiring parts of your brain and practice. As the neurology adapts and skills increase, it gets easier. But the rate of success so far is much slower than I had guessed at. Who would have though that two months of practice couldn’t completely unto 33 years of right-handedness?

But let’s talk application.

Tasks I am doing to help with ambidexterity

Here are some of the things I started doing left-handed:

  • holding my fork with my left hand
  • writing whenever possible (doodles in meetings)
  • opening doors
  • knife fighting
  • punching out rabid hobos (only the rabid ones, homelessness is not a crime)
  • drawing
  • using my car and house keys
  • conducting symphonies
  • firing bazookas
  • turning the pages of books

I think that’s about it. I’ve no doubt that as the ambidextrous experiment progresses that everything will start to feel more natural. But if not, I am content for the meantime to be operating at only 78% of my death-dealing capacity.

Now, some of you said you were going to be working on your non-dominant hand skills as well. How has it gone?


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tony October 12, 2010, 10:53 am

    Many years ago I started switching my mouse to the left hand side every few months. Was a nightmare for about two weeks the first time but now I am able to use either hand with about the same level of comfort and I leave the mouse at work on the left all the time. Seems logical that it would reduce the risk of RSI in your normal mousing wrist as well.

    I can switch between left and right hand drive cars without too much trouble though it does take my brain a few hours to feel comfortable shifting with the “wrong” hand.

    Writing though… that just feels impossible with the left.

  • Ted Hessing October 12, 2010, 11:18 am

    One day I’ll learn to throw a football lefty. I need something to even out those marathon tailgating catch sessions! It’s really, really sad!

    On a more serious note; lifting, kung fu, soccer, and swimming have helped me even out a bit. Try swimming. Can you breathe on both sides of your stroke and still go in a straight line? Takes both ambidextrous coordination and flexibility.

  • Eric | Eden Journal October 12, 2010, 1:40 pm

    I think firing a bazooka needs to be added to my bucket list. I suppose I could settle for an RPG if they are easier to come across.

    As for rabid hobos, we must have better hobo healthcare, it’s been years since I’ve seen a rabid hobo.

  • Blaine Moore October 12, 2010, 2:01 pm

    All I can picture is how painful a jousting lance can be even with a pillow full of marshmallows on the end of it…

    As for my own ambidextrousness, I haven’t given it much mind. I’m about the same as I was 3 months ago, in that I’m relatively coordinated with either hand (eating, driving, reading, brushing teeth, opening doors, etc) but am still mostly dominant-handed (such as for writing.) Then again, I went through a few years of trying to be ambidextrous when I used to be a professional juggler as it makes it a lot easier to learn certain tricks.

  • Carlon October 12, 2010, 8:23 pm

    Interesting exercise.
    I was a born lefty, but a lefty just can’t be a lefty. We are forced to become ambidextrous (even try cutting with your left hand). Not complaining per se. Just stating a fact. Though it is funny that I shoot a handgun with my right hand, but use my left to fire a rifle (eyesight reasons).

    Here’s one things that freaks people out: I write on paper with my right hand (thanks to my first-grade teacher that discouraged hand switching) but I write on a blackboard with my left.

    And being ambidextrous helps when playing pool. You can make some wicked shots quite easily when you can switch hands at will:)

  • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers October 12, 2010, 9:08 pm

    I’d think using the car ignition key would be a bit awkward, because of how the car is set up by the manufacturer.

    I throw a football with my left hand from time to time … but that’s to intentionally cut down on the distance when playing with my 3 year old daughter. The ball doesn’t go near as far (and thus doesn’t need to be chased as far) when thrown with my left.

  • Todd October 13, 2010, 6:34 am

    This could be a valuable skill in case there is a zombie attack. Way to think ahead, Josh.

  • Tomas October 13, 2010, 9:07 am

    I once tried to learn to write with both hands simultaneoulsy, but quit soon. I don’t know if it’s possible to write like that?

  • Passer October 13, 2010, 2:03 pm

    I guess I have an advantage. I never realized before, but I’m ambidextrous. It came from when I was little and had to sit next to my lefty sister, who always got first pick of seats and would inevitably bump elbows with me. I learned how to eat with my left hand so she would hit me every time we bumped elbows.

    • k.sol October 13, 2010, 5:27 pm

      Also eat left-handed, but for slightly different reasons. Grew up in a big family and sat on the left-hander’s corner of the table (we were seated oldest to youngest, with the youngest by Mom and oldest by Dad). Was easier to eat left handed because I had more room that side.

  • Simon Carter November 9, 2010, 12:49 pm

    Hi Josh,
    I just discovered your website and I am greatly enjoying it and learning too. Regarding becoming ambidextrous you could add bushing your teeth with your left hand while balancing on one foot. I have been doing this for a while and it has greatly improved my balance and I do a better job of brushing my teeth because I have to pay it more attention.

    • Josh Hanagarne November 10, 2010, 2:08 pm

      Thanks Simon, that I have not tried yet. Will do!

  • tushar June 27, 2011, 12:28 am

    since eight years i m using my left hand for following activities tough i m righty.
    eating , writting , playing ie. batting , bowling , brushing , wearthing cloth , throwing ball